I have wanted to stuff a pumpkin for quite some time now. The moment has never been right, until I made this fantastic stuffing. It begged to be displayed brilliantly and so I stuffed my first pumpkin to much success! Let me talk a little about the star of this dish, the stuffing. Recently I tried the grain farro for the first time and it was love at first bite! Slightly chewy, it has a rich almost buttery texture with a slightly nutty flavor. Because of this I choose to use farro as the base of the stuffing.
The rest of this stuffing blends together in a wonderful assortment of holiday flavors. Don’t let the amount of ingredients packed into this stuffing intimidate you: it is pretty simple to make and the taste is fantastic! I cooked the farro and black rice in vegetable broth and apple cider with a cinnamon stick and bay leaves. This little change from just using regular water adds a delicious depth of flavor. I added apple chunks, cranberries, cinnamon, and ginger to give the stuffing a warm holiday feel. Winter greens and wild mushrooms found their way into this stuffing because they are some of my favorite cold-weather comfort foods! I topped it off with coconut milk, adding a slight creamy-ness that is not only delicious, but pairs well with the rich, roasted pumpkin meat. The pumpkin itself is so tender it melts in your mouth. Ok, I’m getting hungry again. . .
This stuffing is a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving meal. Why stuff a turkey when you can stuff a pumpkin? It is easier, cleaner, and not as gross. But that’s just my opinion. Of course you can use this to stuff whatever you want. I even ate a bowl before I roasted the pumpkin and called it lunch! There are no rules in cooking and that is one reason I love it so much. I can guarantee that this stuffing has an amazing fall-meets-winter-meets-holiday flavor. So give it a try! You might just fall in love with stuffing 🙂
Wild Winter Stuffing
For the Pumpkin:
1 sugar pumpkin
Preheat oven to 375. Carve the top off the pumpkin and scoop out all the pumpkin inners. Rub the outside and inside with olive oil. Sprinkle cinnamon on the inside, put top back on, and place in preheated oven on a tin foil lined pan. After 30 minutes, add stuffing (recipe follows) and put the top back on. Bake for another 30 minutes, or until pumpkin is tender to touch.
*The pumpkin I used was very large. The cook time depends on the size of your pumpkin. Make sure to check your pumpkin ever 10 minutes or so after 40 minutes.
For the Stuffing:
2 cups uncooked farro
1/2 cup uncooked black rice
1/2 tsp salt
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
3 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1 onion, diced
6 large garlic cloves, minced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
3 celery stalks, chopped small
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups swiss chard chopped (stems removed but don’t throw out)
stems of swiss chard, chopped small
2 cups kale, chopped (stems removed)
2 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced thin
2 cups crimini mushrooms, diced
1 cup porcini mushrooms, sliced thin (or more shiitake mushrooms)
1 large apple, chopped small
1 cup fresh cranberries, cut in half
1 cup toasted walnuts (or pecans)
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
1 1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1 Tbsp ground thyme
1 Tbsp ground sage
2 Tbsp orange zest
1. Add farro, rice, 1/2 tsp salt, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, vegetable stock, and apple cider to a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer with a lid on for 25 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and bay leaves, strain grains, and set aside.
2. While farro is cooking, add onion, garlic, sweet potato, celery, and oil to a large pan and sauté on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and cinnamon, ginger, thyme, and sage. When mushrooms are tender (about 10 minutes), add coconut milk, cranberries, kale, swiss chard, apples, and swiss chard stems. Cover and cook until greens are tender. Stir in cooked farro and black rice and orange zest.